Monday, March 29, 2010

Margrit Coates Workshop, and more

Hi everyone, I took a very interesting workshop in Animal Chakra Healing at the Open Center from Margrit Coates, a very powerful healer from the UK. She is an inspiration, and one of the essages which came to me during the class was how strongly I am compelled to do this work (I know that, but it is always good to get a powerful hit of confirmation). It was very intense, and at one point she had us connect with animals past and present, to send them healing energy, and of course in addition to my own dear cat, who came from a tough beginning, I connected to many animals in the shelter who have come to us in very rough condition.

Anyway, a lot of energy and information to process, and the workshop helped me to clear my mind of a lot of extraneous stuff, so that when I went back into the shelter after class, I felt a lot clearer and felt that my energy flow was a lot stronger, and I could really see the animals responding more immediately as well.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Zigzag Touch

A friend who reads my blog was curious about the zigzag touch, so my cat Garbanzo agreed to help me demonstrate it. This can be a calming touch or a stimulating touch, depending on the speed at which it is done. I tend to do it at a slower speed on Garbanzo, as he gets over-stimulated quite easily. I am using a medium touch as far as pressure, not too light and not TOO heavy, this, again, depends on the animal as to what is appropriate. This touch can really help connect parts of the body as well, and variations on it can be done, such as zigzagging down a leg, etc. In the case of my dear littie Mika who I have been working on at Social Tees shelter, this touch really helped her to release to another level, and she began to purrrr when I did this on her the other day, a sound which I have never heard out of her. On her, I did the touch at a slow speed, and rather gentle touch, as she is a gentle, sensitive little kitty. I alternated between doing down one side of the body and crossing over from one side to the other. Garbanzo is a big strapping fellow, so can take a stronger pressure. I like doing the Noah's march after this touch, as it seems to connect everything very well.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Taylor, and update on Murray

Just a short while back, I wrote about Murray, who initially was terrified after being initially in our window enclosures, hiding in a box in there behind the litter box. With TTouch every day and extra TLC from other volunteers, he has really come out of his shell and he has such a sense of humor too, often rolling over on his back and looking at you from his upside-down position. He also has become an escape artist, and has figured out how to get out of several different types of cages. Each time I find him he goes back into a cage very cooperatively, as I think he doesn't actually like being out where there are dogs who can be a bit scary. His latest container is a larger one, with glass walls, and he seems very pleased at his panoramic view. Here he is looking very assured of himself. I am sure someone will come into the shelter soon and find him as charming as we do:)

The handsome boy above is Taylor. He came out of a difficult situation was very sad and frightened to be in the shelter and growled at first. I had a feeling he would not try to bite but to be safe, I wore thick gloves when I first opened his cage to see if I could touch him. I tried touching him with the back of my hand on the top of his head, and the growling stopped. I did llama touches (circular touches using the back of the hand) on his head, making contact with only part of my hand. The back of the hand is less threatening than the front, so can be a good way to introduce yourself. I kept the first sessions short, and before too long, he began to come forward to push his head against my hand.

When I first felt I made a connection to Taylor's inner self through the body work, I felt tears well up in my eyes. This often happens when I first really make a connection to an animal. I felt his sorrow, which felt so heavy, and it seemed as though he wondered why he was there and what he did wrong. I reassured him that he didn't do anything wrong, that he was a very special, wonderful, beautiful cat, and that things were going to be all right for him. Most of the time I say these things out loud, slowly, as I think a very soft, gentle voice can be as soothing as the body work.

I was soon able to stop using the gloves and start working my hand gradually onto his body. I'd do a bit of TTouch on his head, go a bit down the body, back to the head, etc. Now he will roll over on his back or his side in relaxation. Above you see him looking pretty sure of himself. What a brave, lovely kitty!

From a Little Dog's Point of View

Sasha is one of the sweetest dogs we have in the shelter. She is a dear little toy poodle. I know she looks a little funny here, with her shaved body, but she just had some surgery, from which she is recovering like a champ. She doesn't let any of the big dogs in the shelter bother her, either, she really holds her own!

I took Sasha (above, here we are in a cab) to the one of the vets we use, Janet Ficarra, who is a wonderful vet, and did Sasha's surgery. Janet did an amazing job on her and she and her staff were great to Sasha while she was there. When I went to pick her up, we got a ride downtown part way, and then I decided to walk her a few blocks before getting into a cab. We were in the heart of the West Village in NYC on a Saturday. It was sunny outside and everyone was out on the street, so it was busy and hectic. All of a sudden I felt myself imagining I was Sasha and feeling all this movement and all these people and big dogs passing around me. It was scary! and I understood how stressful it must be for small animals and their people in the city, I was afraid she would get stepped on. At any rate, I continued on for a while, keeping my peripheral vision very open so that I could sense approaching movement from all sides. It was pretty interesting! and I really understood why little dogs can seem so stressed out in these situations, it is a lot to handle.

Sasha and I really bonded on our little journey and now she often follows me around the shelter and will hang out sometimes in the area where I'm doing TTouch on the cats. I have done some TTouch on Sasha as well, which she greatly enjoys.

Thank you Sasha, you are teaching me so much! and I am sure the right person will arrive soon to give you a forever home.

Mika Purrs for me

Mika and Mischa (Mika is at the top of the picture and Mischa is peeking in at the bottom) are two very gentle sister and brother Russian blue mix kitties (maybe 5 months old) who I have been working on for a while. They were absolutely terrified when they came in, and have become a lot more comfortable after TTouch. Mika has been the more shy of the two, and will still hiss at first sometimes, but she is not aggressive, and once you touch her, she becomes more comfortable.
Mischa has become more playful and seems to have a funny side to his personality too. You can see that when I want to pay attention to Mika, he tries to get in on the action.
A couple of days ago, I decided to try doing zigzag touches on Mika, a type of touch I hadn't tried on her before. All of a sudden, she began to purrrrrrrrr. I could barely believe what I was hearing. She even began to look like she was smiling. Over the past couple of days, she seems to have really started to come out of her shell more.
We did many adoptions over the weekend, and so wanted to move these two to a more prominent cage so people could see them better. First we tried a cage in the front area, but that was too much for them, as these cages are open and the other cats in the row could see them etc. So I moved them to a cage which had walls all around, where they felt more comfortable, but it was in a place in the shelter that has more light so they are more visible. They were much more comfortable there. I have to say that both of them were very good sports about being moved twice! Once they got to the second cage, when I put some wet food in for them, they started chomping away right away, so I could tell they were more comfortable there. Here's to these two continuing to feel more comfortable around people and hopefully getting a forever home soon. They have such sweet little spirits.
And something I learned and reminded myself of is to continually vary the types of touches I do with an animal, as sometimes just a little different approach can help them break through to another level.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

TTouch in the News!

Hi folks, some of my fellow TTouch people and I got a mention in the NY Daily News yesterday. Thanks so much, Amy Sacks!

FYI though, the Social Tees website is, not .org, as listed.

Some Adoption News: Jimmy Girl, Luke, Theo and others

Hi folks, yesterday was a great adoption day for us at Social Tees Animal Rescue
A couple of my favorite kitties who I have done TTouch on at the shelter were adopted: Jimmy Girl and her pal Luke. These kitties both came to us in October, pretty much completely feral, and little by little I gained their trust. They really came around! Though he may start out shy, Luke is now a very relaxed cat. You can even pick him up with no trouble at all. Jimmy Girl and I became best pals, and she would meow at me when I entered the shelter and run right up to the front of the cage for me to touch her. The two of them would play together all day long.
However, I knew it would take a special person or people to be the right adopters for these two, as especially Jimmy Girl will take some time, calm energy and patience to warm up to a new person.
Yesterday a very sweet couple came into the shelter, looking for two young, playful cats, and they had seen Jimmy Girl and Luke online on our Facebook page. They are accustomed to taking in stray cats, so they seemed to be the perfect adoptive parents for these two, as they will have the patience to let these kitties take the time they need to become comfortable in their new environment. I will miss these kitties a lot, but I am so happy they have a home now, and I wish them well.

Pictured above is Jimmy Girl.
And this is little Luke.

We also adopted some other sweet critters yesterday, including dear Theo, pictured above. Theo is an absolute love. I did an extended TTouch session on him a couple of days ago and he relaxed right down on his side for a nap. Have fun on your new adventures, Theo and others!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Update on Sparkle: Getting Closer!

Sparkle is one of the most challenging kitties I have worked with. I have little by little been able to TTouch on her with a plastic back scratcher (using the back of the hand on the back scratcher), and recently we put her with a friendly young boy cat named Wally, and he has helped her to feel much more comfortable. I have also had help with her from other volunteers, particularly one named Britt, who I showed how to use the back scratcher with Sparkle. It is good to have more than one person doing this, so she doesn't just get used to me touching her this way.

A couple of days ago, both she and Wally were on the shelf of the cage, she was nestled in front of him. I began to do TTouch on his head with my right hand, and I did some circles and strokes on her head with the back scratcher with the other hand. At one point, I moved my right hand behind her head and began to do little circles on the back of her neck and head. I was still holding the back scratcher with the other hand, which helped distract her a bit, and she ended up settling into the TTouch I was doing on her with my hand. I could barely believe it, and had to consciously remind myself to keep breathing and try not to be nervous about it. I stayed there just a few minutes, as I did not want to push the issue. Afterwards, I was not able to get back to that place, but I'm sure I will soon. As one of the TTouch sayings goes, "Moments, not minutes", meaning it is the quality of time, not the amount of time, that really matters.

Yesterday I was speaking with my friend Eileen and standing in front of Wally and Sparkle's cage, and Sparkle pawed me through the cage, as though to encourage me to touch her. This was truly a first! I had never seen her actually seek attention from a person before. She still is scared to be actually touched, but she is SO much more comfortable. Often she will sit in front of the cage, and, as you see in the picture above, she gets very cozy with her buddy Wally. I still will have to start out doing TTouch on her with the back scratcher at first, but am hoping for her to gradually feel more comfortable with feeling a human hand.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Murray Comes Out of Hiding

At Social Tees Shelter, there is a front window area where we always keep a few cats, and recently some new cats came in when we were full to bursting, so a couple of them went straight into the window area. It became clear that one of the new cats was terrified in there, hiding behind the litter box which is set inside a box there. I decided to climb into the window area to see if I could coax him out.

I moved the litter box away and started out by speaking very softly to little Murray (pictured above). As I didn't know whether he would try to bite or scratch, I started out by doing some circles and strokes on him with a long-handled paintbrush, starting out on his head and then moving down to the body. I could see his body becoming more comfortable, spreading out a bit as I was working on him. He was still a bit puzzled but seemed to know that I was trying to help him. Little by little I worked my hand down the handle of the paintbrush until I was TTouching him with my hand. While I was doing this, I had my body sideways to him and was not looking directly at him, mostly out of the corner of my eye. I did some clouded leopard touches down his body, ear strokes and raccoon touches on his head, and he began to rub himself against me a bit. I gave him some wet food, which he began to eat ravenously, as though he had not eaten in a long time, and I continued to touch him as he ate, which seemed to make him even more at ease eating.

After I had worked on him for a while, I felt I was going to be able to get him into a carrier to move him to a cage by himself, so a carrier was put next to me. I told him what I was going to do, and he really did not resist at all when I picked him up to put him in the carrier, as though he understood that I was going to take him to a place that felt better than where he was.

Once I put him in a cage with food and water, I did some TTouch on him again, and he began to eat again, still seeming to be really hungry, and as though he finally felt comfortable. Here he is, pictured below, finally relaxing in a cage by himself, He was just too scared in that window area with the other cats, people walking by and looking in, etc. - that was just too much for him. But he seemed just so calm and grateful once he was in a cage by himself. I was also very glad I had been able to get him in a cage to get a better look at him, as the poor boy had an abrasion on his neck so I was able to treat it. He is such a sweet boy. I hope he will be going to a forever home soon.

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Journey of Sparkle

Little Sparkle (pictured above, looking much more comfortable than a few weeks ago when she first arrived) is the most challenging kitty I have come across in a long time. We think that she must be feral -- she seems to have had no previous human contact. She is very afraid to be touched and will generally explosively hiss and swat when approached. Initially, most of the time she would crouch in the back of the litter box. We think she is probably 3-4 months old. I am calling her Sparkle because I wanted to give her a very positive name, and her beautiful green eyes do truly sparkle in the midst of her shiny black fur. When I first began to try to initiate contact with her, I used a long feather. A couple of times, once I started to do some little circles on her head with the feather, she began to settle down and relax her eyes. However, I soon felt that she wanted a longer distance between us, so I tried doing circles and strokes on her head with a paint brush. This would be ok off and on, but still I felt that for my safety and hers (as she was still trying to swat at me with claws out on initial contact), I wanted to use something even longer.

My good TTouch friend Marge Piatak had given me a plastic back-scratcher a while back, and this seemed to be the perfect thing - it is made out of smooth plastic and is very long, and by using the back side of the scratcher (the smooth side, not the scratching side), with very gentle touch, this seemed to be the most comfortable surface I had tried yet for Sparkle. Thanks so much Marge! I tried wrapping an ace bandage around the end of this to see if a more textured surface feels better, but it seemed that the texture irritated her, so I went back to just using the scratcher.

Meanwhile, a very sweet couple is very interested in adopting Sparkle, though they know she will take a while to be used to human contact. They have been coming by the shelter, and I show them what I am doing with her to try to get her used to me. They have already adopted a gentle, big Russian blue boy cat, who could be a very calming influence on Sparkle. For a couple of days, we had a very socialized little kitten in the shelter, and we put him in with Sparkle with some trepidation. I watched them closely to make sure that nothing dangerous was happening. The friendly kitten soon learned he had to keep his distance at least for a while, and later on I saw both of them squished next to each other in the litter box. The friendly kitten was soon adopted, so I waited until there was a good candidate for a new friend for her. About a week or so later, we put Sparkle in with a young adult male (about a year old) who we call Wally. Wally is the sweetest, most gentle kitty and he welcomed Sparkle by touching noses with her (she didn't hiss at him, either), and though she was probably a bit skeptical at first, they were comfortable with each other in no time, sharing food, and sitting next to each other. She still hisses when we try to touch her, so I am still using the back scratcher to do TTouch circles and strokes on her, primarily on her head -- and she particularly likes to be touched on her forehead, top of the head and stroked on the ears.

By the end of another day, they started to snuggle on the shelf together sometimes. In general, she seems so much more comfortable than she was in a cage by herself. Today I noticed that after she was hissing because she was afraid when the cage was opened, Wally began to groom her, licking her head, trying to calm her. Very sweet!

Above you see her looking skeptical still of humans, but perfectly comfortable next to Wally.

The woman who wants to adopt her came in a couple of days ago, just as I was thinking about her and wanting to give her a call to give her an update. I showed her how to do circles and strokes on Sparkle with the back scratcher, and encouraged her to try. I did TTouch on Wally in the meantime to keep him busy. Sparkle hissed at first, but quickly calmed down as the woman touched her with the scratcher. I had not told her that TTouch circles generally go clockwise, so she was intuitively doing counterclockwise circles, but they were working, so I just let her keep going. She said that the big grey cat they had adopted was now very comfortable in their home. He is a very friendly guy, so I feel pretty certain he would be welcoming to Sparkle. The woman wanted to talk the situation over with her boyfriend, and we'll see what happens next. I wouldn't be surprised if they come to pick up this little girl very soon. If and when they do, I will give them some more tips that hopefully will make help her acclimation to their new home to go at least relatively smoothly. I wish them all the best and have to thank Wally so much for his help. I also would like to give my friend, animal communicator Eileen Garfinkel, for her help in communicating with Sparkle, as well as the others at the shelter who have been very understanding and respectful of her. Below you see her taking a nap with her new pal Wally.

Friday, March 5, 2010

3 New Sweet Dogs

Yesterday three new dogs came into Social Tees shelter. They were three of maybe 25 dogs that came from a hoarder. All three are some combination of dachshund/terrier and who knows what else, all are approx. 4 years old. All three dogs were shaking when they first come in, though two of the three were still eager to make friends. This fellow above, named Paddington, was the most scared of all, and retreated to a dog bed under the desk, where he felt safe. I sat on the floor a ways from him and little by little came nearer to see if he was ok with that, which he was. I positioned my body so it was sideways to him. I first stroked him with the back of my hand, and gradually did some llama touches and then some abalone touches on his body. I could feel that his body was shaking. While I did this, one of his pals, Scooter (the short-haired dog pictured below) came and sat near me, so I did abalone touches on both of them at the same time. Scooter was also shaking a bit at first but soon he came up to me and gave me a big kiss. Paddington remained under the desk, but grew more at ease, as I felt his shaking subside. After a bit I gave him a break, as I didn't want to overwhelm him.

Meanwhile, the other two dogs could not get enough attention. Both would come up to me and to others in the shelter and put a paw on your knee to let you know they would love to be touched. Below is Theo, who has a charming, fluffy little face. I found that he especially responded to hair slides, which I did on his long fur.

Below is Scooter, who immediately formed a strong heart connection with me. I started out by doing ear slides on him, and felt the shaking in his body begin to subside as I did this, followed by abalone touches down his body. He really craved contact and began to nestle himself in my arms.

Can you tell I want to take this dog home with me? His soulful eyes go straight to your heart, and you can tell he would be your loyal companion forever. All three of these dogs have so much love to give, I'm sure they will be going to forever homes soon.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Jerry, a Sweet Neglected Cat

Above you see Jerry, who recently arrived at Social Tees shelter. He is extremely emaciated, you can feel every bone on his spine as well as his pelvic bones sticking up in the back. He was also terribly frightened and his body was shaking. Little by little, over the past several days, I can feel his body starting to calm down, and each time after doing TTouch and Reiki on this dear cat, his appetite is stimulated and he begins to eat the wet food that I give him.

I wasn't sure at first how receptive he would be to being touched, so I first touched his head, then started to put my hands on his body. He was nearly frozen in place, with his back hunched up. I had my fingers together and put a hand on each side of his body, offering Reiki to him, and he seemed to welcome the warmth coming from my hands. Occasionally he was still shaking, but the shaking began to subside. Then I began to do connected abalone touches (circular touches done using the whole hand), with a slow tempo and light pressure, down each side of his body. Little by little I felt his spine relax and stretch out, and I could see that he was really a much longer cat than was apparent at first. Then again, I offered him Reiki, feeling his spine relax even more, and I could feel him letting his breath go. So I would do the touches for a while, then just place my hands on either side of his body, feeling the warm energy of Reiki going from my hands to his body.
Each day I feel him respond to the touch more quickly and relax and stretch his body out more fully.
Sometimes when I feel this connection to the animal and their relaxation, I feel tears come out of me, as it feels like they are finally feeling safe.
I have continued this slow approach and use of my whole hands on him, as this can be more comforting and warming than the smaller touches, though I have been starting to work some clouded leopard touches in as well. I thank this dear boy for teaching me to really take my time and meet him where he was. I look forward to working with him more and, as with all the cats at the shelter, hope for the perfect candidate to enter the shelter soon take him to a loving forever home.

Jimmy Girl and Her Friend Luke

Jimmy Girl is a young kitty (about 4-5 months) with whom I have a very special connection. When she first arrived from one of the city shelters at Social Tees shelter a couple of months ago, she had to be taken out of her carrier with gloves, and she would hiss and spit when you tried to approach her. We think she was feral. I did very slow, patient TTouch work with her and over time gained her trust. Now she comes to the front of the cage and meows at me when I come into the shelter. She has also become very playful and sweet, with a quirky sense of humor. She has a best friend, Luke, the little black kitty pictured below. They came into the shelter at the same time (but from different places), and soon became good friends. Luke was also a feral kitten, and he took a while to become comfortable, though his process was much quicker than Jimmy Girl's. Luke is now completely comfortable being touched, and will lay completely out on his back, even letting me touch him on his stomach sometimes.

Luke and Jimmy Girl are really sweet together, playing all day long. They need to be adopted out together, as they are inseparable. Jimmy Girl still has some shyness, and will initially run away from someone new, but I feel certain that someone who has the patience to let her take the time she needs to come to them will have a sweet little companion in her over time. Luke will probably also be a bit shy at first but I think will come around very quickly. Both of these kittens have come such a long way since I began to work with them. And I can feel both of them reaching another level of comfort lately. Jimmy Girl used to only let me work on her for short bursts of time, and now she will let me do TTouch on her for extended periods of time -- I start out rubbing her ears, then work up to doing TTouches and strokes on her body. Sometimes during the course of working on her, she will run away for a minute, then come right back to me and paw at me to continue. I wish these dear little ones well! And I surely will miss them when they do go to a forever home, but I will be so happy for them.